The first day of The Open belonged to Phil Mickelson, as the American produced a stunning round of golf to lead the tournament on 8-under-par.
Despite having five Majors to his name, Mickelson spent much of his career in the shadow of Tiger Woods, and has been less prominent in recent years as a new generation of golfers have taken centre stage. However, the 46-year-old proved that he can still mix it with the best and then some and he blazed ahead of the field. It could have been even better for the left-hander after a put on the last came tantalisingly close to handing him yet another birdie.
The chasing pack, who have some work to do if they are to topple Mickelson, was dominated by Americans. Patrick Reed, who will be playing at the Rio Olympics, finished three shots back on five-under-par. Fellow Americans Zach Johnson and Keegan Bradley finished the day a shot further back and are well placed to launch a challenge. The less well known Tony Finau and Justin Thomas, also from the States, are also well placed on four-under-par.
The European challenge is led by Martin Kaymer and Soren Kjeldsen. German Kaymer finished tied for second after going round in 66, while Kjeldsen is a shot further back, but still in contention. If it wasn’t for Mickelson’s brilliance, the pair would be sitting in a far better position. However, although the chasing pack played some excellence golf, the masterclass Mickelson produced has left them very much in his shadow.
Rory McIlroy has made some fairly controversial about golf at the Olympics this week. At one point it looked like he could produce a magical round, but he instead had to settle for a round of two-under-par. Jordan Spieth will also miss the Olympics, and he will be disappointed with his efforts, finishing level par. Jason Day finished on two-over-par, and he will need to be at his best just to ensure he makes the cut.
One of the great stories at this year’s tournament belongs to Matthew Southgate, who was unable to play at last year’s tournament after being diagnosed with cancer. He finished his round on level par, and has an excellent chance of making the cut.
After a fantastic US Open, many though Shane Lowry could shine this week. He had a nightmare round and finds himself on seven-over-par, while former winner Ernie Els struggle on five-over-par.
The tournament is only one round old and anything can still happen, but if Mickelson continues in the same way in which he started his tournament, it will be a tall order for anyone to stop Lefty winning his second Open Championship.